Parish Nurse Corner Spring 2019

“What can I do to learn more about being a parish nurse?”

If you are interested in learning more about being a Faith Community Nurse (Parish Nurse) and working with individuals in your church and community, Wisconsin Lutheran College is offering an online course to give you these skills.  Designed for both the experienced and the novice RN, this course will aid the learner in developing a Christian understanding of the tools needed to develop or work in a Faith Community Nurse (Parish Nurse) program, including how to:

  • Foster a relationship with the church’s leadership team
  • Utilize health assessment skills to evaluate and address the parish’s health care and nursing needs
  • Prepare for and understand the process of Faith Community Nursing Certification through the ANCC

The eight-week course will begin on June 3, 2019, and will run through the month of July. Due dates for the course work will be flexible, taking into consideration that many individuals have already started to make summer plans. The expected tuition of the course is $600. WELSNA is currently offering a tuition reimbursement of $200 at the competition of the course. Nurses should contact the WELSNA council at WELSnurses@wels.net for more information on the tuition reimbursement. Nurses are encouraged to speak to their pastor and church council about sharing the remaining $400 as a Faith Community Nurse (Parish Nurse) program is a partnership between the church and the nurse. A letter from the WELSNA pastoral advisor, Pastor Behringer, can be found here.

The course will be taught by Lisa LeBlanc who is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Wisconsin Lutheran College and has been on staff at WLC since 2011. She received her undergraduate nursing degree from Marquette University, her master’s degree from St. Xavier University, and is enrolled at the University of South Alabama for her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.  She is a certified Clinical Nurse Leader and a board-certified Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. She has completed coursework in Parish Nursing and has achieved 21 credits in WELS synod certification coursework.

Registration information will be forthcoming.  Questions regarding the course may be directed to Lisa LeBlanc at: lisa.leblanc@wlc.edu.

Do you have a question you would like addressed in the Parish Nurse Corner? Send your question to WELSnurses@wels.net!

 

 

 

 

Serving on the WELSNA Council

Individuals who attend the spring conference will have the opportunity to volunteer to be a member of the WELSNA council. The main responsibility of the WELSNA council is to plan the spring conference, so we are looking for individuals who have a heart to plan and prepare wonderful, professional conferences. We meet solely by video conferences meaning there is no travel necessary.  Meetings are scheduled based on the availability of the council members and occur about once per month.

The first position that is open is the council coordinator. This member is responsible for preparing the meeting agendas, assigning tasks to the other members as needed, and to communicate by phone or e-mail with individuals to help plan and organize the spring conference.

The second open position is the coordinator-elect. This individual will remain in close contact with the coordinator to learn the role of the coordinator and will complete any tasks assigned by the coordinator. Once the coordinator has completed his or her term, the coordinator elect will move into the role of the coordinator.

Finally, the third position available is that of the treasurer. The treasurer remains in contact with individuals at the Center for Mission and Ministry (CMM), the headquarters of the WELS, to receive monthly financial updates. The treasurer is not required to write checks or keep any checkbook as this is all managed at the CMM. He or she is responsible for reporting the current finances at each council meeting.

So why should you join the WELSNA council? It is a wonderful opportunity to meet other WELS and ELS nurses around the country. It enables you to become more familiar with Lutheran resources such as counseling services, mission opportunities, and conferences. It also ensures that the WELSNA spring conferences can continue for years to come. If you are interested in filling any of the above positions or becoming more involved with the council, please e-mail us at WELSnurses@wels.net. We look forward to serving with you!

 

 

 

WELSNA Spring 2019 conference

Registration is now open for the WELS Nurses Association’s annual spring conference! This year, the conference will be held on Sat., April 27 at Eastside Lutheran Church in Madison, Wis. The theme is “Remaining Steadfast in Unsteady Times” and is based off of the Bible passage 1 Corinthians 15:58. “Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the Lord’s work because you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

The keynote presentation, delivered by Pat Freer, will discuss dealing with the diagnosis of a life-threatening disease and the difference between what we hope for in this life and the “Living Hope” in our Savior Jesus Christ. Individuals will have the choice to attend one of the two morning breakout sessions. The first is entitled “What does a Parish Nurse Do?” and is presented by Sue Bolha, a parish nurse from Jackson, Wis. The second, entitled “You Want Me to do What?” is presented by Sheryl Krause and will discuss questions such as “with so many career options available to nurses, how do you know which career path is God’s will for you?”

After a catered sandwich lunch, the afternoon will begin with a meeting to inform conference attendees on WELSNA council updates and to elect three new members to the council. Anne Mackey’s term as secretary officially ended in 2018, but she agreed to faithfully serve the association by filling in as the coordinator position for one year. The current treasurer, Kathy Lee, is completing her term, and the interim coordinator-elect, Yvette Burk, will be unable to continue in the role. The council is responsible for organizing the annual spring conference, and we encourage those of you who enjoy participating in the conference to prayerfully consider joining our council.

Individuals will then have the choice to attend one of the two afternoon breakout sessions. The first, presented by two individuals from Christian Family Solutions, will be on the topic of sexual assault and the important truth that there is hope and healing for all of those struggling with the trauma of sexual violence. The second is presented by Laura Harstad from the organization, Kingdom Workers. She will share inspiring stories of people around the world who are receiving physical and spiritual care through the efforts of bold Lutherans just like you.

In addition to the conference on Saturday, individuals are also invited to join in an evening of socializing and fun at Revel Craft Bar on Fri., April 26. Each individual will have the opportunity to create a craft project that will reflect the theme of the conference. No additional fee will be charged on the registration form as each individual will pay for the craft project of their choice at the location. The cost of the craft projects range from $25-$35. To sign up, we ask that individuals indicate their interest in the event on their registration form. Individuals will be sent more specific information about the craft projects closer to the event.

The WELSNA council has been hard at work planning a full day of speakers and are looking forward to spending time with you growing both professionally and spiritually. Registration ends Mon., April 22. For a full description of the presentations, speaker biographies, schedule of events, and to register, please visit our website www.welsnurses.net.

 

 

 

The Christian Vocation of Nursing

Catharine Soule BSN, RN, WELSNA secretary

Think back to when you first thought about being a nurse. What drew you to the profession? Was it the idea of helping others? Maybe you loved working with kids or the elderly, or maybe you were fascinated with biology and medicine. Maybe you or someone in your family was blessed through the work of a nurse and you just knew it was something you wanted to pursue. But even with the fun and inviting aspects of our career, we have all encountered the not-so-glamorous side of nursing – the mess of cleaning up a trauma bay, performing personal cares on a patient for the fifth time in one hour, the violence and disrespect by a patient under the influence, a hyper-critical family member, the endless prescription refills to file, the “code blue” that failed again. Discouraged, many of us have probably questioned ourselves, “Why did we bother becoming a nurse? Why didn’t I see this side of the profession? Was all the studying worth it?”

At all times, and maybe especially during the discouraging times, we can remember that nursing is a wonderful vocation for a Christian. A Christian vocation is a way for God to use us to bless others in this world. Christian Author Harold Seinkbell describes the idea of a vocation as us being “God’s secret agents” in this world, God using us as a “mask,” as a way and through whom he operates in this world. God uses us, ordinary people, to provide for the needs and desires of his whole creation.

God makes it clear to us in scripture that he cares for the health and well-being of his children. We see miracles in both the Old and New Testament proving this. Jesus himself healed many during his ministry, including those who were sick, blind, injured, paralyzed, and even dead.

Now, God works directly through us to care for the sick and to comfort the lonely. If you think about it, he is our ultimate boss. When we are tempted to think we are just working for the paycheck or just getting by to please our manager, we can remember that our work is all to his glory. We read in Matthew 25: “‘For I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was lacking clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or lacking clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ The King will answer them, ‘Amen I tell you: Just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it for me.’” (Matthew 25:35-40 EHV)

Just think of this portion, “I was sick, and you took care of me.” How powerful! When we care for the sick, our Lord sees it as us caring for him! Our work, even our most unglamorous work, is done for our God! What an amazing privilege! Our amazing God, who was born as a human, lived a perfect life, suffered, died, and rose again for us and our salvation, views our work as a nurse, as caring for him. In thanksgiving for our salvation already won by his blood, we are compelled to love and care for our brothers and sisters.

When you are tired and feel that you have just “had enough” as a nurse, remember to look to your “ultimate boss,” our loving Father who will give you the strength to do his work. Our work is pleasing to him because he is using us to care for and show his love and compassion to his children.

 

 

 

 

Remaining Steadfast in Unsteady Times

Have you ever taken a stress Q&A?

I remember taking one in nursing school. If you checked “yes” to three or more questions it indicated that you had stress. If you think about it, there is not a day that goes by without some stress. There are good stressors, such as a wedding, a trip, a new baby, and a new job just to name a few. Some bad stressors are not being prepared for a test, the death of a loved one, loss of a job, and divorce.

So what does stress have to do with remaining steadfast in unsteady times? During unsteady times it is especially stressful. We may lose our job because we witnessed to a patient, our marriage may end in divorce because our spouse got caught up in the evil of mainly “worship yourself,” or we may lose our business because we will not compromise our faith values.

Are you getting stressed out just reading this? Then read on: God reassures us in his Word.

In 1 Corinthians 15: 57-58, Paul reminds us “Therefore my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

And Peter reminds us in 1 Peter 5:7-11 “Cast all your cares upon him, for he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen”

Resting in God’s eternal promises we can remain steadfast in unsteady times.

By Anne Mackey RN, PN

 

 

 

Caring for Yourself as a Caregiver

By Alexis Adams MS, Professional Counselor

From finishing school, to becoming a mom, to working full time, I have found that I often spread myself too thin, taking on the role of helper but ultimately neglecting to help myself. I am sure many of you can relate. Particularly, in my field of work as a professional counselor, I am surrounded by struggling individuals and families, and I have the honor and challenge of being present with them and their emotionally heavy struggles. Do not get me wrong—I love what I do and I would not change it for the world. However, in doing what I do, I am required to be a little more proactive in preventing myself from burning out. The goals and principles outlined below have helped me as a professional counselor to manage self-care effectively and will also benefit those in a nursing profession.

It is a bit ironic that one of my greatest struggles is also one of the things I advocate most for my clients to use in their own lives. I remind them of how absolutely essential taking time for themselves is. I preach to them that they cannot pour from an empty cup, yet I have difficulty heeding my own words. I make excuses such as I am too busy or I will do it later when things settle, which they never will, so that futuristic date is ever elusive. I feel that the real message I am sending is that I am somehow above taking time for self-care, that informing others of its many benefits is somehow sufficient. This is like telling the pastor that because he preaches God’s Word to his congregation, he does not have to be in Scripture to feed his own soul.

I understand the importance of self-care, especially given the nature of my work. I truly do not believe it is beneath me—far from it. I, like other health professionals, carry a lot on my plate. Bogged down by heavy caseloads, troubled people, administration, and life stress…the list never seems to end. Self-care is even more pertinent to my life and well-being because others are counting on me, and I cannot give to them if I have nothing left to give.

Based on the research and my own life experience, most of self-care begins with being mindfully aware of ourselves. That involves being conscious of our limits, needs, triggers, and warning signs, as well as knowing what our norm is and when we have exceeded that point. For example, I know that I need to take a step back and give myself some attention when I lack the desire and energy to involve myself with others or do the things I most enjoy. However, by that point it is too late for me—I am emotionally exhausted and ineffective in serving others. So instead, I have compiled a preventative list: things that you can do or keep in mind in order to prevent burnout as well as ways to incorporate more self-care into your everyday life in order to avoid reaching that point.

First, as difficult as it may be, leave work at work. In my own life, this is often a cop-out for why I do not have time to take care of myself. I come home and take care of the needs of my family and then continue to occupy my time with e-mails and paperwork, leaving no room for the things I enjoy for myself. I have to remind myself that the e-mail I want to reply to will still be waiting for me when I return in the morning. I do understand that things pile up and that there never seems to be enough hours in the day to do all that we need to do. However, consider the supply and demand principle. The more time we allow ourselves to supply, the more our work will demand.

Next, be familiar with common warning signs of impending burnout. They are different for every person, but some examples include loss of hope, feeling numb or distant, lack of pleasure in things that were once pleasurable, thinking of work outside of work, etc. Once you are aware of your signs, be sure to listen to them. They are your mind’s way of telling you to take a break.

This leads to my next point: be sure to do something that you enjoy at least once a week, if not once a day. Anything will do, but be sure that no matter what you do, you do it for you. For some, that might mean going on a run or listening to their favorite type of music. Others may garden or build something. It is much less about what you do and more about making the time to do it. Whatever you do does not have to be time consuming; you may only have a few short minutes most days, but once a week you should block off a few hours. Again, the goal is to find something that you can reasonably do that helps you to find peace.

Ask for help if you need it. Often I feel that we as helpers believe we must be superhuman—that we cannot have needs or problems, which ultimately sets us up for failure when we are confronted with reality. Realize that it is not weakness to seek out support. It does not make you any less effective as a helper, but rather makes you stronger because you are not left to shoulder the burden alone. We all have problems that we carry on our hearts, and I encourage you to share them. Our shared experience can be empowering. It reminds us that we are not alone and gives us new insight into how to address our problem from a different angle. Please seek out the support of someone you trust—someone who is familiar with you who can check in with you on a regular basis. Perhaps that person is a friend, colleague, supervisor, or trained counselor—someone you feel that you can go to.

Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, be sure to actually ask for help. We cannot expect for people to be able to read our minds. They may have no idea you are struggling until you reach out, and not for lack of caring. Sometimes it can be difficult to bridge that gap, to check in with someone for fear that we may embarrass them or be off-base.

As simple as it may seem, part of self-care is taking care of the basic necessities. Make sure that you are getting decent sleep on a regular basis, eating balanced meals, getting regular physical activity, and keeping up with personal hygiene. To that degree, be sure that you are taking time for self-care in all facets of your well-being, not just the physical. Take care of your emotional, spiritual, mental, and social self as well. I like to view the whole person and all their parts as a wheel, with each of the facets of the whole person being represented by a spoke. If any one spoke were to become too long (that is, you are devoting too much time to it) or too short (that is, you’re not spending enough time attending to it), then the wheel will not roll. We must balance to maintain all areas of life equally.

Trying to keep up with everything in life can be exhausting. Give yourself permission to take a break. Take time to take time off. Go on a vacation. Step away in order to refresh. You are not doing yourself or anyone else any favors by being the workaholic martyr. In fact, research has found that people who use their vacation time or take a break from work are more productive in the long run.

Another thing to take into consideration is your perspective. Be realistic about how much you can control and do. It will help alleviate some of the unnecessary stress that you put on yourself. While we have the best intentions and truly desire to help others as caregivers, there is only so much we are able to do. The rest is out of our control. Make peace with the fact that you tried and did your best, and allow for God’s will to be done. Remind yourself that God says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10), with the realization that he is present in your many vocations and duties.

Finally, be your own cheerleader. Give yourself positive affirmations. The work we do is draining. There is minimal appreciation, yet we pour our hearts and souls into it. It is OK to pat yourself on the back for a job well done. I find it helpful to keep notes from previous clients, students, or peers tacked to my walls or inside my cabinets to serve as reminders that I have made a difference in someone’s life. It helps me to get through the days that are especially tough, when I doubt why I do what I do, and when it is difficult to feel like I am enough.

Making time for self-care is not an easy feat. There will always be excuses or other things to be done, but it is important to keep in mind that you are a priority. You have to be—not only for your own benefit, but also for those you serve.

Alexis Adams, MS, is a professional counselor at the Christian Family Solutions counseling clinic in Mankato, Minn. She specializes in working with individuals who have experienced trauma, are dealing with attachment-related concerns, and who struggle with addiction. She also works with combat veterans. For more information about counseling services through Christian Family Solutions at their multiple clinic locations or via secure video, please visit ChristianFamilySolutions.org.

 

 

 

 

Serving on a Short-term Medical Mission Trip

By Kathleen Lee MS, RN, WELSNA Treasurer

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10). This is a verse from a daily devotion I read as I prepared for a medical mission trip with Christians Forward – Southeast Asia (CFSA) (christiansforward.org). I thought the verse fit the situation well. The trip was not to Thailand as many of the CFSA trips are, but to Mahahual, Mexico, a first for the organization. Mahahual is the site of the Costa Maya Ministries (costamayaministries.org) and the Cruz de Cristo Lutheran Church. The church is served by Martin Valleskey, a WELS pastor. A group of three RNs, one LPN, and two non-medical individuals were part of the mission team.

According to Anne Press, executive director of CFSA, the organization provides opportunities for nurses to serve in a short-term mission and to witness and demonstrate Christian love to others during the mission trip. CFSA also has roles for non-medical individuals in both manual labor and medical trips.

On our team, Jill Holter, a Christian day school teacher from Tacoma, Wash., served as an assistant.

The team offered nurse-run clinics on five days. Two were in the “middle class” section of Mahahual (that is middle class by Mahahual standards), two were in the poorer section of Mahahual, known as Kilometer 55, and one took place about an hour away in the poor village of Xcalak. At each clinic site, there were three “nurse tables.” The table was manned by an RN, an assistant (either the LPN or a non-medical person), and an interpreter for the non-Spanish speaking nurses. Patients would approach the table and share their medical complaint or make a medical request. The RN would assess the patient and then offer education and/or over-the-counter medications. We treated complaints including headaches, GI distress, skin conditions, pain, and parasites. When a patient could not be treated with the over the counter medications, they were encouraged to see a doctor. We were able to check blood sugars, total cholesterol, HDL, and triglycerides with equipment lent to us from a local clinic. Each patient was given information about Costa Maya Ministries Bible studies and the Sunday church service.

My nursing teammates commented on serving in Mahahual. Marilyn Schwartzbauer, a critical care nurse from Bismarck, N.D., stated the team was able to provide basic health care in a moment’s time. We did not have an opportunity to follow up. As nurses, we were limited to treating minor problems and providing education. Education included teaching non-pharmacologic methods to manage the problems including stress management. Carol Laumer, an LPN from Willmer, Minn., is motivated by the thought of helping others. She wished the team could do even more for those we served. She believes that as a servant we need to avoid acting superior and must be willing to do all of the necessary tasks. Meghan Mortenson, a bilingual clinic and home health nurse from Green Bay, Wis., stated when serving others it is important to understand the patient’s perspective and then meet their individual needs. I am a retired RN from Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., and the WELSNA treasurer. I view serving as doing for others the things they cannot do for themselves. It is important to keep the focus on the people and their needs.

I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of Mahahual and Xcalak and to work with a wonderful team of Christian women.

 

 

 

 

Parish Nurse Corner

By Allison Nass BSN, RN, WELSNA communications coordinator

Q: Is it necessary for parish nurses to have liability insurance?

Lisa LeBlanc MSN, RN, CNL, the instructor for the Faith Community Nursing course offered by Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee, Wis., stated, “The best resource for all parish nurses (or Faith Community Nurses) is the American Nurses Association’s Faith Community Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice book. I have the third edition of the book and having read the previous editions and this one, there is no specific information regarding liability insurance for parish nurses.” She goes on to say, to her knowledge, there is no formal recommendation by a governing body on the topic of liability insurance for the parish nurse.

We also posed this question to the insurance group who provides insurance to Lord of Love Lutheran Church in DeForest, Wis. They replied that their insurance policy covers “pastoral counseling” but does not include any medical advice given to an individual or group outside of the scope of psychological or spiritual counseling. This means that any type of medical education, counseling, or encouragement is not covered in their insurance policy. The representative recommended that the parish nurse seek to hold his or her own insurance policy.

Sue Bolha RN, the parish nurse coordinator at David’s Star, Jackson, Wis., told us that although she carries liability insurance, she does not require the nurses who help out with their program to do so. She has discussed this issue with the parish’s insurance provider and was told that it is not mandatory for each nurse to hold liability insurance as long as the nurses abide by the four general roles of parish nursing, which are health education, health counseling, volunteer coordination, and community liaison, and if the nurses provide proper documentation when needed.

So what is the answer to our question? No, it is not mandatory for a parish nurse to carry his or her own liability insurance. However, it is a topic that each parish nurse should discuss with his or her parish so that jointly, they can come to an agreement on the topic. The insurance provider for the parish should be contacted to assess if the service of the parish nurse is covered under the current parish’s insurance plan or if the provider encourages the nurse to seek his or her own liability insurance as policies can vary from one insurance provider to another. Once the parish and the nurse come to an agreement on whether liability insurance should be carried by the nurse, they can also discuss if the nurse will provide his or her own insurance policy or if the parish will cover the cost of the insurance. Once these decisions have been settled, the parish nurse can continue his or her important work with peace of mind and a clear conscious. God’s blessings on your work!

Do you have a question you would like addressed in the Parish Nurse Corner? Send your question to WELSnurses@wels.net!

 

 

 

Reminiscence From a Retired Nurse

For those of you too young to remember I will share a story from nursing school; when we attended class at the hospital! My story begins with my joy of being Lutheran and my love for nursing. I was able to hold onto both even as I attended classes at Milwaukee County General Hospital in their School of Nursing. My joy came from the interaction we had with Pastor Arnold Schroeder, who was the Chaplain at the hospital. He was the original model for what is now known as “Institutional Ministries” in the WELS. He was fantastic with the patients, and we were also blessed to have him as a guest lecturer each year (yes, even for a public education program). The focus of his talk with us was how we could serve God through our careers. To be a Lutheran and have one of our pastors come and give such an inspiring message made me so proud and feeling blessed. Pastor Schroeder was truly a gifted speaker.

Years later as I was working as a nurse on a psychiatric unit, the words of Pastor Schroeder became very useful. The patients were challenging, the staff very supportive and yet we all struggled to keep going some days. I was known to many as the “WELS lady,” as I shared the joy of my faith, my church family in Muskego, and the happiness I felt by singing in the choir. There were other Lutherans on staff from St. Philip’s in Milwaukee and we must have made an impression on people as there was a real effort made by them to act in both word and deed in a Christian manner. I know that approaching our work from this viewpoint helped us find ways to bring peace to the unit and could feel more confident in our own safety. At the time, while still in school, I didn’t understand how writing a spiritual assessment for my patients would be a vital skill in my career. I approached this part of the care plan from my Lutheran faith and am so grateful to have had this foundation, and I am sure is why I received A’s.

By Gail Maxwell, RN
(edited by Wendy Crary-with permission)

 

 

A Resourceful RN

I am one of several nurses in our small, rural church in Fairfax, Minn. Over the years, I have found that when a member of our congregation needs medical assistance during a service or event, the only tools I had at my disposal in church were my hands and my watch. As an ICU nurse in a local hospital, I am used to having all the necessary nursing tools for any situation that arises. We do not have a formal parish nurse program in our church, so this is when Thrivent Choice Dollars came to the rescue! I applied for a Thrivent grant in the amount of $250 to help with some basic parish nursing supplies for our church. With this money, I purchased a manual blood pressure cuff (with two sizes of cuffs) and a battery operated, automatic blood pressure cuff for the congregation to use if one of our nurses are not present. I bought a stethoscope, CPR masks, large first aid kit, gloves, ice packs, hand gel and cleaning wipes (for use on the equipment in between patients). All of these items were placed in a clear bin for all to see and use and is located in the narthex of the church for easy access. I would encourage everyone to use their Thrivent Choice Dollars to jump start their parish nursing program!
By Amy Buboltz, BSN, RN

 

 

News and notes: Fall 2017

Welcome new Council Members: Mary Bruskewitz and Kristi Opper have kindly offered to join our small team and add their God given talent to our efforts! We welcome you with open arms, and pray you find the work fulfilling.

Spring Conference—Mid April 2018, at Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn.: With an excursion planned to Bethany Lutheran College’s new Nursing Program for a tour of the facility and fellowship. Stay tuned for more specifics as the Council and Conference Planning team finalize arrangements.

Parish Nurse Course: Online Summer 2017 had students from California, Minnesota, and Nebraska. Keep these nurses in your prayers as they apply that knowledge and they establish a parish nurse ministry in their congregation and a big thank you to Christian Aid & Relief for the matching funds grant to help with tuition costs!

Stateside Opportunity—Nurse Coordinator: Have a love for missions? The Central Africa Medical Mission is looking for a Registered Nurse to serve on our stateside committee. While the nurse coordinator must be an RN, extensive knowledge of CAMM is not necessary. Those interested must be WELS or ELS and have a willingness to learn about the influence CAMM has on those we serve in Zambia and Malawi. Please contact Linda Liesener at cammcontact@charter.net or Shelly Sievert at sievertsr@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

Parish nursing – doing what is right and good

Written by Sue Bolha RN, Parish Nurse Council Coordinator in collaboration with Linda Golembiewski, RN, BSN and former adjunct at CUW, teaching Legal Aspects of Parish Nursing.

One of our WELS pastors recently asked about the legal ramifications of a parish nurse practice. What might a parish nurse be officially authorized to do? Any nurse, regardless of the setting in which he/she practices is guided by the policies and statutes set forth by the state in which the nurse is licensed. Since the statutes may vary from state to state it is neither necessary nor wise to make an all-inclusive policy for WELS parish nurses. It is, however, wise and necessary to review some guidelines as they apply to the unique nursing opportunities associated with parish nursing.

Liability: The Nurse Practice Act and State Statutes of the state in which the parish nurse is licensed to practice must be followed. A violation of these standards of practice constitutes unprofessional behavior and may result in the suspension, revocation and non-renewal of the nursing license. A congregation must be respectful of the standards by which a parish nurse must operate. It is a good idea to check with the church liability insurance and clarify any issues that arise. It is also a good idea, but not required, for a nurse to carry her own liability insurance.

HIPAA regulations may affect the practice of a parish nurse practice. Good communication with the members of a congregation and good documentation by the nurse will help maintain a proper program.

Types of Service: The underlying philosophy of the parish nurse program supports a non-invasive health & wellness practice, functioning under the roles of health educator, health counselor, community liaison and volunteer coordinator. Examples of a non-invasive practice might include a visitation ministry, health fairs, and health education programs, leading an exercise class, blood pressure screenings or bereavement follow-up.

Delegated Duties: The parish nurse (RN) is accountable for duties of delegation carried out in the parish nursing program guided by a job description.

Staffing: The parish nurse program is directed by a registered nurse currently licensed in the state in which he/ she serves. The parish nurse serves as a reflection of the congregation, and consequently, must serve in a manner that is consistent with the congregation’s overall ministry.
The most effective parish nurse programs include a group of nurses working together. Although not required, the additional nurses provide broader service and expertise to the program. Non-RN’s can serve within the program, but only under the direction and authority of the parish nurse (RN) and within legal guidelines.

This information on the legal issues surrounding parish nursing and more can be found in the Suggested Guidelines for WELS Parish Nursing posted on www.welsnurses.net on the Parish Nurse page. More questions? Contact us at welsnurses@wels.net.

Why would a congregation benefit from a parish nurse program? A healthier congregation is better able to serve the Lord and his people! And as the parish nurse intentionally cares for both body and soul he/she will find ways to connect them to God’s Word, giving strength to his people.

 

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News & Notes – Spring 2015

  • The 2015 Wisconsin Lutheran College Online Parish Nurse Course will be offered in early fall. Dr. Carlo Piraino will teach the six week online course, requiring about three hours of work each week, consisting of independent study, project work and online discussion groups. The Antioch II Foundation has provided a wonderful matching grant to help with the course tuition costs. Now is the time to be talking to your pastor of your interest in serving as a parish nurse in your congregation. Download the Parish Nurse Starter Kit from www.welsnurses.net and give him a copy of the “WELS Parish Nurse Guidelines” and the “Word to Pastors.” He would be welcome to contact Pastor Jim Behringer, director of Special Ministries, with any questions. jim.behringer@wels.net More info at www.welsnurses.net. More questions? E-mail welsnurses@wels.net.
  • SAVE THE DATE – The Fall Parish Nurse Gathering is scheduled for October 17th @ Christ Lutheran Church in Pewaukee, WI.
  • Do you have an AED on your Church/School campus? – Leading the effort toward the purchase, the training of church, school staff and ushers and the maintenance or documentation of a new AED might be a great way for a “nurse in the parish” to use her gifts. Make your willingness to explore the possibility known to your pastor and/or elder and many times they will give the OK to gather information and make a proposal to the church council. Funds may not be immediately available but the seed can be planted for some future memorial funds to be donated. An active church campus with many people coming and going make the need for an AED a possibility statistically as in any other public building. Purchasing the same brand as your local EMS is helpful. Training DVD’s come with the purchase of an AED making the yearly training and review easy to do. Questions? Feel free to ask us. Many congregations have an AED on campus now!
  • At the WELSNA Spring Conference the Wisconsin Lutheran College/WELSNA Nursing Scholarship was awarded to Joseph Sallazo, a current junior from Caledonia, WI. His home congregation is St. Johns, Oak Creek, WI, and he is honored to be the recipient of the WELSNA Scholarship. Please remember him and the other students in your prayers as they prepare for lives of Christian leadership as nurses in a secular world. More information on the WLC/WELSNA Nursing Scholarship is available at www.welsnurses.net.

 

 

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Porn is pandemic

By Caleb Schultz

I moved to Atlanta just after Dr. Kent Brantly was brought to Emory University Hospital. Of all the places to bring a man with Ebola, they chose MY CITY, even as Americans were thinking: “Keep Ebola as far away as possible!” Since then, only one person in the United States has died from Ebola, and it wasn’t Dr. Brantly. By percentages, we’re doing well: we have a better chance of dying by shark attack while being struck by lightning than from Ebola.

Now look at percentages for a far worse disease, one that many people are not trying to cure but are actually trying to contract. 50% of Christian men and 20% of Christian women say they are addicted to pornography.1 And that’s just those who acknowledge that pornography is sinful and admit they have a problem.

If those numbers are accurate, then we might conservatively estimate that 35% of the people who read this article struggle with pornography. Those 35% live with an illness that slowly kills the soul by attacking their relationship with God.

Maybe you live with this disease, and with its accompanying darkness, guilt, and frustration. Maybe you know that place all too well. In that place it can feel like no one, not even God, could love you. Even though you know Jesus died for your sins, you feel unworthy of that forgiveness. Friend, you’re absolutely right.

But even when you feel like God shouldn’t love you because of what you have done, remember what he has done. Remember what that One – who knows everything about you – did for you and for every person trapped by pornography.

“We do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)

“‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’” (1 Peter 2:24)

Like Ebola, porn can be deadly, but not to your body. Pornography attacks your soul. A person infected with Ebola needs help, and so do you. A great place to start healing is at a website called “Conquerors through Christ.” (www.conquerorsthroughchrist.net) Go there! Begin to leave that awful, dark place you know all too well. It won’t be easy, but Dr. Jesus and his medicine of forgiveness are working for you.

A perfect cure for Ebola is not yet known, but your perfect Savior gave you his perfection in exchange for all your sexual sins, including pornography. Because he suffered the shame of the cross, God sees you as pure and perfect, without wrinkle or stain or any other blemish (Ephesians 5:27).

The Conquerors through Christ team is praying for you. Ask trusted friends to pray for you. May God protect you from temptation and remind you that, in Christ, you are alive, free, and victorious.

1 http://www.covenanteyes.com/pornstats/ Accessed 10/28/14

 

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From a secular bedside to a Christ-centered classroom

By Jessica Washburn, instructor of nursing at Wisconsin Lutheran College

I pursued a career in nursing through a public university after attending a Lutheran Elementary School and a Lutheran High School. Four years later and having earned a BSN degree, I entered the secular world of nursing. As a nurse in the Midwest and the West Coast, I encountered co-workers and patients from many different countries, speaking different languages, and believing in different religions and gods.

My family returned to Wisconsin a year ago, and I was asked to adjunct at Wisconsin Lutheran College’s (WLC) School of Nursing. I have always enjoyed working with student and graduate nurses; teaching these WLC students in a clinical setting did not disappoint. I accepted a full time call to WLC in August. Higher education is definitely a new area of nursing that I have come to enjoy and about which I still have much to learn. I am impressed that my students come to an 8:00 a.m. Monday morning lectured prepared and ready to learn.

I am now able to work openly from a Christ-centered viewpoint knowing that my students and co-workers understand one another’s beliefs and the college’s mission. I can stand in front of the classroom and tell these students what a wonderful world of nursing God has made for us, despite them learning and seeing disorders and diseases of each body system.

The opportunity to attend chapel each day is an aspect I never anticipated being part of my daily life. Attending chapel is something I was never able to do in college. During difficult and stressful times, chapel services allow the students and I to take a break and focus on what really matters in life. This past week, the students and I were discussing the differences in doctrine that we at WLC believe compared to other Christian entities to which they’ve been exposed. This open communication of religion is an aspect of teaching at WLC these students would not be able to encounter at many other colleges.

I often reflect upon what I have encountered as a bedside nurse over the past decade. I remember profanity being yelled by colleagues (both physicians and nurses) and having families cry over the passing of their loved one, believing in everything but Christ. These were rough days, but there were also rewarding days. I enjoyed watching my own Pastor come to my unit and have a devotion with a patient—realizing in the semi-private room the other patient behind the curtain is intently listening. Being able to teach in a Christian environment has opened my eyes to the importance of Christ-centered education. The value of daily chapel, faculty meetings that start with a devotion, and knowing my students can receive Christian answers from any professor is a gift from God. I am now a part of WLC, helping these students prepare for lives of Christian leadership as nurses in a secular world.

 

 

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Childhood Immunizations

By Diane Lamm, RN, BSN

There’s a lot of buzz about the topic of childhood immunizations lately. Some say vaccines cause autism and other illnesses. Others say it’s irresponsible to not vaccinate your children. As a nurse, you may find people coming to you for answers, so you ought to be prepared with some answers.

First of all, we need to make clear that there is not a doctrinal point of view on this topic. A person’s faith and status as a child of God does not depend on whether or not they choose to vaccinate their children.

As nurses, our opinions should be based on science. What does the research say about the safety of vaccines? We do know that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitor and research vaccines on a regular basis. In fact their Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) has information on more than 21 million individuals who have collectively received over 134 million vaccine doses (McNeil et al, 2014). Their research has helped to develop the best schedule for vaccine administration, determined populations that are at risk for side effects, and confirmed the safety of vaccines through post-marketing clinical trials.

One of the most common vaccine issues in the news lately has been the link of the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism. Where did that idea come from? There was a study done in England back in 1998. The doctor studied 12 children. Think of that – 12 children out of the millions that get the MMR vaccine. No one was ever able to reproduce his results and he has since had his medical license taken away for fraud – it turned out that he was trying to sell a single component vaccine and was in line to make millions if he could convince people that the MMR vaccine was unsafe. While his original findings got a lot of publicity and altered the rates of vaccination, the debunking of his study did not.

As nurses, how can we communicate this issue to parents who come to us for advice? One way is to explain the theory of cause and effect. Just because B follows A, it cannot be assumed that A caused B. Autism spectral disorder is usually discovered at about 15-18 months of age – this is because that is when language delays are typically noticed. The MMR vaccine is given between 12-15 months of age. Does one cause the other? So far, science has not been able to prove that.

As stated above, there are side effects from vaccines and there are certain populations that should not receive certain vaccines. It is important to know these things so that we protect and educate our patients. If a person has had a serious side effect to a previous vaccine, that person should not get a second dose. Hopefully, if others have been immunized against that disease, the person will be protected through “herd immunity.” Herd immunity means that if enough of the population is immunized against a certain disease, it is less likely to spread to those who couldn’t get immunized – children and adults with cancer, those who are immunocompromised, or those who are not yet old enough to receive the vaccine.

So, take some time to make sure you know the facts about immunizations and be prepared to share your knowledge, accepting that the person you are educating has the right to make their own decision.

McNeil, M. M., Gee, J., Weintraub, E. S., Belongia, E. A., Lee, G. M., Glanz, J. M., . . . DeStefano, F. (2014). The vaccine safety datalink: Successes and challenges monitoring vaccine safety. Vaccine, 32(42), 5390-8. doi:http://dx.doi.org /10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.07.073

 

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